Red Palm Oil

by kcurly on August 3, 2009

in Organic/Natural Products and Ingredients,Product Reviews

I had this hanging around in my pantry from when I did a caramel treatment last. I’d just shampoo’d after swimming and (of course) my hair was incredibly dry. I really needed to oil rinse and this was the perfect opportunity to try out the red palm oil.

Like coconut oil, it’s solid at room temperature because it’s high in saturated fat.  Here are some other interesting facts about red palm oil:

  • It is indeed reddish in color from high amounts of beta carotene
  • Can be stored at room temperature, due to high amount of Vitamin E
  • If boiled, the red color disappears
  • Widely used as a cooking oil in West Africa
  • Excluding the US, palm oil is one of the most widely used cooking oils

I really like coconut oil for oil rinsing as well, though the smell started getting to me about a year ago. This reminds me of coconut oil but heavier. It is an extremely heavy oil. I would not use it without rinsing (that is me personally as I am not a big oil person).

The first time I used this was after shampooing, I applied this and left it on for about 15-20 minutes while I did a few things around the house. I applied way too much that first time, but still liked it. I used it again, just leaving it in while I shaved my legs etc in the shower. Here are my initial impressions:

It left my hair feeling amazing. Oil rinsing usually leaves my hair feeling great, but this was probably one of the best oil rinses I’ve ever had.The residual amounts from my first use  made my detangling much easier.

It’s really hard to rinse out, so go easy on application. So after glopping it on in huge amounts, as I am prone to doing with all things hair related, I could not rinse it out properly. Can you say frustrated? Despite my almost black hair, I could still see faint traces of orange/red in my hair. I finally just rinsed one more time and then gave up, applying my deep conditioner. My hair remained overly oily but still incredibly soft and hydrated.

The second time (when I did not go crazy with the stuff) was much easier to rinse out, though it still hangs on to my hair. I used hot water to rinse, which I did not do the first time.

This stuff stains like a mother! I will not use this oil out of the shower again. The t-shirt I was wearing the first time I used it will now be a rag because of all of the orange-ish spots on it. I also, because of my heavy handedness, stained my satin pillowcase and one of my scrub tops (my twists were brushing against it) after failing to completely rinse it out. My Denman also suffered a casualty.

Of course when DH saw the pillowcase he had to start singing “Soul Glo” much to my mortification.

Always good for a chuckle, right? Anyway…

Red palm oil is often readily available. You only want to get the virgin oil. I found it easily at my local whole foods grocery, but fear not. There are plenty of places online to buy it. When doing a search on, I found a couple of listings.



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  • Amanhecer

    Ooh, this just made me so hungry. I love red palm beans!!! Never used this in my hair though…
    Experiment tonight, lol!

  • NappySince10/01/08

    this is my MOVIE lol. “just let it shine throughhh, eh!” lol. next to soybean oil, i see palm oil in alot of natural products as well. do u think the two compare in any way? that is, if u’re familiar with soybean oil…

  • Peace Omen

    My family cooks with palm oil, but recently, the company LUSH has been campaigning against the use of palm oil because it cuts down the habitats of orangatangs in asia or something.

  • kcurly

    Nappysince, I haven’t tried soybean oil, so I can’t compare.

  • Larry David

    The campaign against palm oil is focused on palm oil from Southeast Asia. Palm oil also comes from South America and Africa. The best palm oil is the one that originates from West Africa where it is produced without destroying the rainforest. This is where the original seeds came from before being taken to Southeast Asia & South America. I personally use red palm oil in my cooking and my wife uses it as a hair moisturizer. The health benefits of red palm oil for food purpose and hair growth/moisturizer is quite impressive. So the best red palm you will find in the US or Canada can be found at

    Their oil is certified organic and produced from sustainable agriculture. When you purchase this oil you are also supporting local palm tree farms in West Africa and getting the best rainforest red palm oil.

  • Lillian Vertice

    Do a search in Google for Rainforest Red Palm Oil to find it. I also buy their oil as well.

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